15 May Hail the mighty kale!
After a few years of being a one-type-of-kale-woman, I went all out this year and planted five different types of kale. I know.
Kale is one of my most used veg in the garden and variety is the spice of life ‘n all that. So I went for it… kale city. And it has rewarded me with curly greenery that will last a while, taste delicious and look fancy. That is why it’s one of my garden heroes, but it has some stiff and tasty competition.
Kale vs. Tomatoes
There is nothing like tasting your first homegrown tom. Nothing. There is no way kale can compete with that summery goodness, but (and it’s a big but) you can grow kale throughout most of the year/ish. I had some Cavolo Nero last year that lasted all the way through the winter, until spring when it finally bolted. It won’t grow over the winter months, but it will last. In fact, it even tastes better after a bit of frost.
The tomato, however, is a different story. You plant in February and then enjoy a month of intense tomato heaven at the end of the summer. That’s it. It’s a short-term thing, a tasty holiday romance.
Kale vs. Beetroot
I think beetroot plants are beautiful. The shiny leafy green tops and round beautiful beets are a delight and cutting into a homegrown Chioggia beet is a good thing. But, yhere is no cut-and-come-again for beetroot, you can eat the leaves, but as my dad always used to say ‘when it’s gone, it’s gone’. Once harvested, you can sow again for a longer supply when you’re short of space, but you won’t get all year round beets.
Kale however, keeps giving. The more you pick, the more it grows and gives you more leaves, which is why sometimes you see Monty’s kale nearly as tall as him on Gardener’s World. It’s happy and reaching for greatness.
Kale vs. Cabbage
Kale is a lean machine. It grows tall and wide, so the more room you have the bigger it will go, but it can easily be grown in a large pot or planter. Cabbages require space and I mean space. I could probably grow six kale plants in the space where I could grow two cabbages. I love cabbages and I’m determined to try growing some autumn varieties, but when you only have a small space. You have to really love cabbage to give it the room.
Kale vs. Courgettes
Have you ever seen a courgette plant? I’m growing a few varieties this year, but a courgette plant is not the most handsome of plants. The leaves are enormous and rough, and often get covered in mildew by the end of the season. Kale, however, looks lovely in the garden ~ its pretty frilly bushy leaves add some lovely textures, its almost too good-looking to eat.
Kale vs. Pak Choi
The main problem I have with pak choi is bolting. As soon as we have irregular temperatures, which we often do, it’s here we go again as it throws a bolting style tantrum. Kale has bolted before, but only in extreme circumstances, it’s no diva.
So there you have it… kale knocks it out the park and to top it all off you can make crisps with it.
A few of my favourites…
~ Cavolo Nero ~
~ Dwarf Green Curled ~
~ Redbhor ~
~ Scarlet ~
~ White Russian ~
“The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.”